David Bowie
David Bowie is in favour of the union

David Bowie has been deluged by abuse from Scottish nationalists after he came out against independence at the Brit awards on Wednesday night.

The rock singer became the most high-profile supporter of those opposed to independence when he sent Kate Moss, the model, to collect a Brit award on his behalf with the message: “Scotland, please stay with us”.

This triggered criticism from supporters of independence, with multiple posts on the Hunky Dory singer’s Facebook page telling him to stay out of Scottish politics.

One message, from a man calling himself John MacKay, read: “For someone who does not live in Scotland, or England, Wales or Ireland to make stupid comments on the Scottish referendum just shows how stupid you are.”

Alex Salmond took the intervention more light-heartedly. Mentioning the bronze medal won by the British women’s curling team at the Winter Olympics, Mr Salmond said it demonstrated “we all can be heroes just for one day”.

But pro-independence campaigners were more heartened by the results of the latest poll, which suggests last week’s interventions by George Osborne and José Manuel Barroso, appear to have dampened support for the union.

A poll by Survation, published on Thursday, showed support for a Yes vote picked up after last week’s speeches by the UK chancellor and the European Commission president. It showed the pro-independence campaign gaining six points to 38 per cent, while pro-union support fell five points to 47 per cent.

The Scottish National party welcomed the poll, saying it showed that Scottish voters had been turned off by the chancellor’s speech ruling out a currency union in the event of independence.

Excluding undecided voters, the poll showed 55 per cent for a No vote, against 45 per cent for a Yes – a tight enough margin for Alex Salmond, first minister, to be able to argue for holding another referendum in future if he fails to win outright support first time round.

Nicola Sturgeon, deputy first minister, said: “This is an exceptionally encouraging poll for the Yes campaign and SNP. When ‘don’t knows’ are excluded, Yes support is now up to 45 per cent, putting us within five points of success in September.”

She added: “It is clear that there has been a severe backlash to George Osborne’s bluster and threats on the pound – with more than half of the No campaign’s lead wiped out in just three weeks, and far more people more likely to vote Yes on the back of the Westminster establishment’s attempted bullying rather than No.”

The poll is the first to be undertaken since the chancellor’s intervention and that of Mr Barroso, who warned it would be “nearly impossible” for an independent Scotland to remain an EU member.

The Better Together campaign against independence had hoped that the cross-party push to rule out a currency union would undermine the SNP’s claim that little would change if Scots voted Yes in September.

The pro-unionists will take some heart that the pollster’s methodology has changed, which may have increased the nationalists’ support by as many as 5 percentage points.

But even with that change, the figures show a distinctly higher poll rating for the Yes campaign than the average of just over 41 per cent shown in the previous six.

Thursday’s figures suggest that, if anything, Mr Osborne’s move has pushed supporters into the Yes camp, with fewer than half of voters wanting to share the pound in the first place. A majority say they think the chancellor may be bluffing.

Treasury officials say the result was not unexpected, and that the results of Mr Osborne’s speech would be seen over a longer time period.

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